[With 16 days until the start of training camp, we take a look back at the career of quarterback Norm Snead. Snead, spent three years with the Washington Redskins after being taken with the second overall pick in the 1961 NFL Draft.]
Last year when the Washington Redskins selected former Heisman-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick in the draft, he joined Norm Snead as the only quarterbacks picked at the two slot in franchise history.
Griffin III’s debut season was one for the record books, as his play on the field reignited Redskins Nation’s proverbial roar and his “likeability factor” off it lead to him being one of the most marketed players in the NFL. Don’t forget he set the record for most jerseys sold too.
Transitioning to the speed of the professional game from the college form where a majority of players peak and then spend the rest of their lives outside of the game isn’t easy. Despite the fact that the adaptation period for the reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year seemed nonexistent, most rookie still struggle to acclimate to the NFL at first.
While Snead’s three-year career didn’t exactly live up to the expectations innately placed on top-five selections, his play did lead to two Pro Bowl appearances—and the acquisition of a Hall of Famer.
Norm Snead grew up in the heart of Redskins Nation in Halifax County before attending Wake Forest University. In 1953, Wake Forest joined the Atlantic Coast Conference after 17 years in the Southern Conference. The ACC, home of Clemson, N.C. State and South Carolina among others, was a considerable jump in competition level for the Demon Deacons. .
After a three-year career at Wake Forest where he passed for 27 touchdown passes, Snead was ready to make the jump to the NFL.
In the 1961 NFL Draft, the Redskins selected Snead second overall to replace the departing Ralph Guglielmi.
Gugliemi was selected by the burgundy and gold with the fourth overall pick in 1955 draft, but had won as many games (four) as he had seasons in the league.
Unfortunately, like his predecessor, wins came few and far between for the former Demon Deacon.
The highlight of Snead’s rookie campaign came during the Redskins’ Week 2 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. In the third quarter of a 7-0 game, No. 16 connected with veteran tight end Fred Dugan for an 80-yard touchdown.
Snead’s best year in our Nation’s Capital was his sophomore season, where he threw for 22 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards; leading the Redskins to their best season in five years.
In 1963, the Redskins last win of the season (only three on the season) came on the road against the Eagles and quarterback Sonny Jurgensen.
When the Washington Redskins acquired Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb before the start of the 2010 season, it marked the second time the division rivals traded away their starting quarterback. You see the aforementioned Jurgensen landed in our Nation’s Capital in exchanged for a package deal of Snead and Claude Crabb after the season.
While Snead’s erratic play didn’t secure a playoff appearance here, it did lead to perhaps the best trade in franchise history.
He continued to have moderate success throughout the next decade for four teams, winning another 42 games and finishing his career with 196 passing touchdowns—36th most in NFL history. Jurgensen on the flipside, spent the final 11 years of his career with the burgundy and gold and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
Tags: Norm Snead, Robert Griffin III, Sonny Jurgensen
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